The ceremony is held every evening at 8PM when three buglers sound the Last Post. It too suffered as a result of corona restrictions and for a while only one sole bugler was allowed to sound the Last Post. Today the people of Ieper are looking forward to welcoming more guests.
In its heyday, before the corona crisis, the ceremony attracted crowds of up to a thousand people, many visitors from the UK and wider Commonwealth. At present only 200 people are allowed to attend in a ceremony in which social distancing is observed. Fitting in 400 after 1 September could be a challenge due to limited space at the Menin Gate.
Benoit Mottrie of the Last Post Association notes that 160 people are currently accommodated under the Gate itself, while a further 60 have to take place a little further away. “The plan is to position more people outside the Gate. Spectators will also be allowed to stand outside the Gate on the side of the monument leading to the town centre. Spectators will have to stand outside the gate, but will be able to see and hear the ceremony”.
At present markings are already present under the Gate showing where people can stand socially distanced. New markings will now be set out outside the Menin Gate that was built on the road that so many soldiers took on their way to the Ieper battlefields. The Menin Gate honours British and Commonwealth soldiers with no known grave listing their names on its walls.